Health Communication Examples

Effective health communication plays a vital role in promoting public health. Health communication refers to the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual decisions that enhance health. It can educate people about health risks and benefits of different options so they can make more informed decisions about their health. Here are some examples of effective health communication in practice:

Public Health Campaigns

Public health campaigns use a mix of media and messaging to promote health behaviors and awareness on a population level. They provide information and compelling messaging to influence health choices. Some examples include:

  • Anti-smoking campaigns – Using advertising and public figures to reduce smoking rates by highlighting health risks of tobacco use. Notable campaigns include the CDC’s Tips from Former Smokers which feature actual people dealing with impacts of smoking like amputations and throat cancer.
  • Safe sex campaigns – Campaigns promoting condom use and HIV testing/treatment to reduce STD transmission. CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign features positive images and stories of various communities impacted by HIV.
  • Hand washing awareness – WHO and CDC campaigns teaching proper hand washing techniques. Catchy slogans, videos and posters help spread this simple health habit critical for reducing infectious diseases.
  • Healthy eating/active living – Campaigns tackle obesity epidemic by promoting better dietary choices and exercise. CDC’s Rethink Your Drink campaign discourages sugary drinks.

Targeted Health Messaging

Health communication can be tailored to specific audiences most impacted by or at risk of certain health issues. It allows creating more relevant messaging for higher impact. Examples include:

  • Minority community outreach – Materials and messages reflect cultural values and translated appropriately for non-English speakers. Addresses higher rates of conditions like diabetes, HIV, and maternal mortality.
  • Youth anti-vaping efforts – Messaging and ads designed to discourage e-cigarette use which surged among teens. FDA “The Real Cost” campaign focuses on consequences like lung damage, addiction.
  • Maternal health programs – Materials created for low-income, less educated mothers to promote healthy habits during pregnancy and early parenting. Reduces risky behaviors and encourages doctor visits.

Patient-Provider Communication

How health professionals communicate with patients influences patient health decisions and outcomes. Clear provider communication fosters trust, information sharing, and patient self-care. Examples include:

  • Health literacy – Use of plain language, teach-back method, visuals and limiting medical jargon. Helps patients better understand their conditions and treatment plans.
  • Motivational interviewing – Questions and reflective listening to understand patient priorities and barriers to change. Empowers patients to make their own health choices.
  • Shared decision making – Doctors provide options and patients express preferences and values. Increases satisfaction and adherence with chosen treatment plans.
  • Telehealth – Remote video visits increased access to care. Good IT platforms and virtual visit etiquette preserves strong communication.
  • Cultural competence – Awareness of patient backgrounds to address barriers, beliefs, and values that impact care. Improves provider-patient relationships in increasingly diverse populations.

Health Promotion Through Multiple Channels

Health communication uses an expanding array of media and technology to reach today’s audiences. Some examples:

  • Social media – Public health campaigns harness platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok to raise awareness and engage communities. Allows targeted messaging.
  • Smart phone apps – Apps provide personalized health info and interventions to users anytime. Includes symptom checkers, trackers, appointment reminders and telehealth.
  • Wearable technology – Fitness trackers and smart watches monitor activity, sleep, heart rate and more, providing direct feedback to users about their behaviors and health metrics. Can integrate with apps and share data with providers.
  • Streaming media – YouTube channels, podcasts and streaming services provide engaging on-demand health content from professionals and patients. Makes info accessible outside traditional channels.
  • Electronic health records (EHRs) – EHR portals let patients access their medical info, schedule visits, message doctors. Facilitates more informed, activated patients.


Health communication examples demonstrate the range of strategies used to inform and influence individuals, communities and populations. Effective health communication empowers people to make better choices and improves delivery of healthcare and public health initiatives. Public health messengers must utilize evidence-based communication principles and understand their audiences to create resonant messaging through traditional and digital media. Ongoing research helps advance our knowledge of health communication and its real-world effectiveness.

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